McDonald’s Monopoly Won’t Make Anyone A Millionaire

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to McDonald’s Monopoly rolling around. It always seemed like a million bucks was just one Boardwalk sticker on the back of my small fries away. Of course, I didn’t know the odds, but as McDonald’s Monopoly rolls around again, Fast Food News has been kind enough to tell you exactly how unlikely you are to get anything at all.

Odds of winning a greasy piece of fast food: 1 in 7.2.

Odds of winning $50: 1 in 91,967.

Odds of winning a Sony Home Theater System or Flat Panel HDTV: 1 in 91,697,000

Odds of winning a trip for two to Vegas: 1 in 114,621,250.

Odds of winning $50,000: 1 in 3.5 BILLION.

Odds of winning $5 Million: 1 in 41,497,391,309. Or 7 times the population of the planet earth. Luckily, some people almost eat that much at McDonald’s to make it a sure thing.

Bad Odds for McDonald’s Monopoly [Food Facts]

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  1. Something_Amazing has put together a nice little site for tracking these game pieces. Help him out and submit your “winnings”

    http://www.stamptrack.info/

  2. PZR says:

    Just a friendly reminder that no purchase is necessary to get a ticket. McDonald’s, like most advertisers, will only tell you that in the fine print of their game promotions.

    Granted, you’d still have to show up at a McDonald’s restaurant about a kazillion times in order to win something big.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I would guess that the ‘no purchase necessary’ thing helps get companies like McDonald’s off the hook for providing such a lousy chance of winning anything meaningful.

  3. Has anyone ever heard of anyone winning anything in this contest?

  4. NeonCat says:

    Shamefully, I admit to eating McDonald’s food, mainly in the hope of winning. I’ve noticed, however, that in past years I’ve come away with a few Best Buy bucks but in the 2-3 times I’ve eaten there during this promo cycle (or had stickers given to me by the disinterested) I haven’t seen a single Best Buy buck. Perhaps it got too expensive for Best Buy and they told McD’s to tone it back?

  5. Pelagius says:

    There was a period in my life where the breakfast burrito was a staple of my diet. If anyone was going to win something out of this stupid game, it would have been me. I came away with some free coffee/oj’s and hash browns but nothing more, alas and alack. Unless clogged arteries and heartburn counts as a prize.

  6. AcilletaM says:

    Yes but they’ve had issues with the company running the game “influencing” the piece distribution to their favor.

    On a slightly related but side note, in my last job I worked with the company that makes drink cups for McD’s and they have to go through extraordinary measures to segregate/protect the cups with the pieces on them. Separate and restricted access buildings, motion detectors, laser fencing (think of the movies where diamonds are protected by lasers and they use a can of hairspray to see them), etc.

  7. tjrchicago says:

    What AcilletaM says is true (both paragraphs, actually), but what she doesn’t say is the company that is referenced in the article, the one that used to run the games, was basically closed down because of this scandal.

  8. any such name says:

    NeonCat – they put the best buy $$ pieces on the chicken sandwiches – thus you pay more for the sandwiches to get the pieces that are actually worth something.
    Shady, eh?

  9. AcilletaM says:

    AcilletaM is a he actually. I also left off the fact that the timeframe was 1997 through 2003.

  10. etinterrapax says:

    I used to love to play this. But at some point I realized that like Mr. Burns, I’d be happier with the dollar. I don’t even remember making a conscious decision about it. Just that I’d eat it when I did and not when I didn’t, and never to get Monopoly pieces. See, if I had that kind of apathy in the rest of my life, I could really have made something of myself by now. Something thinner, at least.

  11. denki says:

    Many years ago when we were doing construction on my grandmothers house, my father won a years supply of happy meals from this contest (365 coupons actually), so often for lunch we’d pop down to the mcdonalds and buy three; we got a really good toy collection that year of barbies and beanie babies.

    Then the same thing happened like 2 years later.

    The game sucks now, but at least we don’t eat at mcdonalds anymore.

  12. Marcus_T says:

    In my youth I was a paperboy, and they used to give away 2 free game pieces in the newspaper as part of an ad. Who went through all 50 of his papers stealing the game pieces? ME!

    I never did win anything big, just a lot of free fries and hashbrowns, but one time I won 50 bucks. I was so proud and I didn’t even have to buy a single thing from McDonald’s.

  13. njsykora says:

    I work in the damn place. During this all us employees are constantly taking stamps off the rolls.

    I’ve never won anything more than ‘food’ either.

  14. InfoMofo says:

    Marcus… you’re lucky that was a long time ago. Otherwise someone would have reported you to Consumerist, lol.

  15. Heh, thanks crayonshinobi for the plug :)

    Yes, I admit that I do have a tracking site for the monopoly stamps. It’s an exercise in weird online stats being gathered that should hopefully give somebody a thrill. Feel free to use it or abuse it if you so desire.

    Here if anyone is interested.

  16. timmus says:

    I remember back in the 1980s one had a pretty decent chance of winning something beyond the value of a few bucks with lotto tickets, fast food contests, promotions, etc. It seems to me that the odds have gotten really crappy in the past 15 years.

  17. or you could just collect the best buy pieces and then get into a three-month fight with best buy over why their stores apply redeption rules that are more restrictive than the official contest rules.

    i was a total sucker for the monopoly game until last year. my loyalty survived the stories about the outside rep who hoarded the winning pieces, but it died when i started having to write letters just to be able to use the pieces as advertised.

  18. Triteon says:

    It seems to me that the odds have gotten really crappy in the past 15 years.

    Take it back farther– McD’s is still paying off for the 1984 Olympics promotion!

  19. RandomHookup says:

    I figure they are worth dumpster diving for, but that’s it.